CHICAGO (STMW) - Chicago Police have executed several search warrants in the investigation of 9-year-old Tyshawn Lee’s killing, including a warrant in the name of the boy’s father, who says he’s being harassed.
At a news conference Thursday, police Supt. Garry McCarthy declined to comment on the warrants but said Tyshawn’s father has not cooperated at all with police, the Chicago Sun-Times is reporting.
“We believe that Tyshawn was targeted, lured to this spot and murdered, and we believe that this is the most recent in a series of gang-related violent events that may go back as far as August, may go back a little further than that,” McCarthy said.
Calling the slaying “probably the most abhorrent, cowardly, unfathomable crime that I’ve witnessed in 35 years of policing,” McCarthy said police need help from the community, as he stood alongside the Rev. Michael Pfleger.
The reward in the case stands at $35,000, and Pfleger offered to use his own money to relocate any witness out of state if necessary.
Police are investigating whether Tyshawn was killed in retaliation for his father’s alleged involvement in a violent gang conflict. His father, Pierre Stokes, 25, has publicly rejected that theory.
Stokes appeared at the news conference after it ended, talked to a police officer and later told the media he has told authorities he is not in a gang and knows nothing about who killed his son.
Earlier Thursday, Stokes showed the Sun-Times a copy of a warrant, in his name, to search a basement apartment in the 8000 block of South Marshfield.
The warrant, signed by a judge at 9:28 p.m. Wednesday, sought cocaine, drug scales, documents showing residency and any records detailing drug activity.
Stokes said police broke down the door of the apartment around midnight and threw in a “flash-bang” grenade. He said they seized about $2,500 in cash that his cousin, who lives in the apartment, planned to use for rent.
Stokes said he doesn’t live in the Marshfield apartment and was at his home about four blocks away when the raid took place.
His cousin, Antonio Lee, lives in the Marshfield apartment and was there during the search, Stokes said.
Stokes said he arrived at the Marshfield apartment as police were leaving. Officers saw him but made no attempt to arrest him or search him, he said.
“They know where I stay at, so why were they going to that house? They know where to find me. They could have found me at court,” Stokes said. “I’m being harassed. All I want is justice for my son.”
Stokes said investigators and patrol officers have been stopping him and his friends on the street.
“Before my son was killed, (police) didn’t have nothing to do with me,” he said. “Now, they’re telling me to stay in the house or they’re going to lock me up, because they don’t want me outside.”
Stokes appeared in court on Thursday in connection with an earlier, unrelated charge of being a felon in illegal possession of a firearm but he said the case was postponed because his lawyer did not show up.
Tyshawn’s killing has spawned social media traffic in which gang members have been threatening to harm the families of their rivals.
Also on Thursday, police said a “person of interest” in Tyshawn’s killing was released after he turned himself in to investigators Wednesday for questioning, arriving with his attorney, Sam Adam Jr.
Police are concerned Tyshawn’s killing could set off a spree of violence targeting gang members’ innocent relatives — who have been considered off limits in the past.
On Thursday, Mayor Rahm Emanuel was asked whether the Chicago Police Department has a strategy to confront that new and frightening possibility.
The mayor collected himself for a few moments, then used some of the same language he used earlier this week in response to the innocent child’s murder.
“The best way to deal with this is that when, not if — because I believe the Police Department will find who did this — when that person is brought in front of justice, I hope they go to a place that will freeze over and they never see another day of freedom,” Emanuel said, his teeth clenched.
“That child has had their innocence and that child has had their sense of hope stolen from their family and the city of Chicago. And if you want to deal with that, he’ll be in front of a judge and he’ll be in front of Chicago. And I hope the full force of the law and the sense of moral outrage comes down. And that’s how you deal with it.”
The mayor added, “This is not for the Police Department alone. It is for every person who has a common sense of decency. There’s more than the law and there’s more than the Police Department here. And that is how you deal with it.”